OPINION

Amar Singh, Amitabh Bachchan and the Worli Sea Link Controversy

March 29, 2010
Amitabh Mitra

Amitabh Bachchan was recently the chief guest on the 24 March inauguration of the Bandra Worli Sea Link. It is known as Rajiv Setu, named after Rajiv Gandhi and Amitabh’s closest friend at one time. The occasion was graced by the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal. There was a lot of bonhomie during the programme and the inauguration continued successfully.

Indian politicians love launches whether it is a minor bridge, roads, books or even Shauchalayas. There is always a marble piece cemented on the wall mentioning cabinet ministers, chief ministers and members of legislative assemblies who were present on that auspicious occasion. Therefore I am sure there would be such a piece stuck on the wall at the Bandra Worli Sea Link but whether the name of Amitabh Bachchan is there or not, one needs to confirm.

Barely within twenty four hours the Congress high command at New Delhi telephonically conveyed their displeasure to Ashok Chavan the Chief Minister, questioning the presence of Amitabh Bachchan at the inaugural ceremony.

Ashok Chavan later commented that adequate care should have been taken while sending invitations, as it is a government function.

Amitabh said that he was officially invited to attend the function.

Bal Thackeray lambasted the Congress by saying; Amitabh Bachchan belongs to the nation and will remain so.

The Sharad Pawar led NCP clarified they don’t have any problems with Amitabh inaugurating the Worli Sea Link.

Immediately after that Ashok Chavan in keeping with the Congress High Command’s wish avoided sharing the stage with Amitabh at the 83rd All India Marathi Literary Meet at Pune

At a discussion on NDTV tonight, Ashish Nandy mentioned there has been a combination of many petty factors.
-Amitabh Bachchan on being a brand ambassador of Gujarat
-Amitabh Bachchan’s closeness to Amar Singh and the Samajwadi party
-Amitabh Bachchan’s old feud with the Gandhi family.

The funniest incident in the discussion was the contractor who built the sea link, he would not comment clarifying that he can’t hear a thing that Barkha Dutt is saying.

One has to remember that it was Amar Singh who helped Amitabh during times of financial turmoil and not the Gandhi family and again it was Pranab Mukherjee who visited Amar Singh for his party’s support when the left had left them. Knowing the closeness between Amitabh and Amar it was quite possible that such an arrangement could have been refused. But Amitabh never did that.

The Congress has revealed its farcical image in condemning Big B by its petty mind games. The country has respected Shree Manmohan Singhji for his far reaching ideologies but this caricature of hyperventilation has only revealed the dictatorial values in a democratically elected party. The BJP lost its power base when it did a similar erratic ruling over Jaswant Singh. The country is astounded and the Congress would have to bear the brunt now.

I personally feel sorry for Ashok Chavan.

An orthopaedic surgeon in a busy hospital in East London, South Africa, I actually belong to Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, its long summers and hectic politics. I edit a print poetry journal called 'A Hudson View', a journal on African arts called 'Inyathi' and dream of going back to Gwalior. My blog on South African Arts is http://www.amitabhmitra.blogspot.com/
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